Archive for News

Jul
07

Another day, another police killing

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In bleeding color:

A St. Paul man died Wednesday night after being shot by police in Falcon Heights, the aftermath of which was recorded in a video widely shared on Facebook in which the man’s girlfriend says the “police shot him for no apparent reason, no reason at all.”

Friends at the scene identified the man as Philando Castile, 32, cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul.

Castile had cooked “for 12 to 15 years” at a Montessori School. Let that sink in. Philando Castile is black.

The girlfriend started the live-stream video with the man in the driver’s seat slumped next to her, his white T-shirt soaked with blood on the left side. In the video, taken with her phone, she says they were pulled over at Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street for a broken taillight.

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Categories : Justice, National, News, Race
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Jun
13

Sweet nightmares, Pat

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So now the guy who signed the anti-LGBT “Hate Bill 2” into law in North Carolina wants to help Florida in the aftermath of the slaughter at the gay bar in Orlando. Gov. Pat McCrory is getting right on it:

McCrory issued a statement Sunday calling the shooting a tragedy that should never happen in America. He says those killed were “innocent victims of an inexcusable act of violence.”

McCrory says his prayers go out to the families, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the people of Orlando.

He says he’s contacted Florida Governor Rick Scott offering any assistance North Carolina can provide.

Here’s one suggestion:
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Jun
04

A man like no other

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Muhammad Ali after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush on November 9, 2005. (Public Domain.)

Now Ali, “The Greatest.” Tributes are pouring in from across the planet for Muhammad Ali, the three-time World Heavyweight Champion who captured boxing and the world through, speed, skill, and sheer force of personality after he upset Sonny Liston in 1964. Ali, 74, died at a Phoenix-area hospital last night after a long decline from a respiratory illness aggravated by Parkinson’s. Ali died a Sufi Muslim.

A report in the New York Times quotes Jim Murray of The Los Angeles Times on Ali’s talents, “He didn’t have fights, he gave recitals.”

The “Rumble in the Jungle” against George Foreman (1974, Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the “Thrilla in Manila” against Joe Frazier (1975) are legendary. But outside the boxing ring, as his Wikipedia entry notes, “Ali’s actions as a conscientious objector to the [Vietnam War] made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation.” Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., Ali converted to Islam at 22, changed his name, and in 1967 refused induction into the army claiming “his Muslim beliefs forbade him to go to war.” His conviction for draft evasion was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1971 and he returned to the ring.

The Washington Post summarizes:
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Categories : News, Passing
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Edward Snowden. Photo by Laura Poitras / Praxis Films CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

Edward Snowden. Photo by Laura Poitras / Praxis Films CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

The Guardian has a lengthy read about a Department of Defense figure involved in handling DoD whistleblowers. So far, John Crane has escaped the media spotlight surrounding the case of Edward Snowden. Crane worked in the Department of Defense’s inspector general office for handling internal whistleblowers when – ten years before Snowden – Thomas Drake came to report the same illegal activities Snowden revealed to the press. Mark Hertsgaard sets the stage:

Drake was a much higher-ranking NSA official than Snowden, and he obeyed US whistleblower laws, raising his concerns through official channels. And he got crushed.

Drake was fired, arrested at dawn by gun-wielding FBI agents, stripped of his security clearance, charged with crimes that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life, and all but ruined financially and professionally. The only job he could find afterwards was working in an Apple store in suburban Washington, where he remains today. Adding insult to injury, his warnings about the dangers of the NSA’s surveillance programme were largely ignored.

According to the account Crane gave to Hertsgaard, DoD officials first illegally disclosed Crane’s identity to the Justice Department, then “withheld (and perhaps destroyed) evidence after Drake was indicted; finally, they lied about all this to a federal judge.”

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May
06

Only thing that stops a bad toddler with a gun

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New York Times:

She had been napping in bed with her father, Courtenay Block, late last month when she discovered the 9-millimeter handgun he often kept under his pillow in his Kansas City, Mo., home. It was equipped with a laser sight that lit up like the red lights on her cousins’ sneakers. Mr. Block told the police he woke to see Sha’Quille by his bed, bleeding and crying, the gun at her feet. A bullet had pierced her skull.

In a country with more than 30,000 annual gun deaths, the smallest fingers on the trigger belong to children like Sha’Quille.

During a single week in April, four toddlers — Holston, Kiyan, Za’veon and Sha’Quille — shot and killed themselves, and a mother driving through Milwaukee was killed after her 2-year-old apparently picked up a gun that had slid out from under the driver’s seat. It was a brutal stretch, even by the standards of researchers who track these shootings.

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Categories : Gun Control, National, News
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Apr
10

Boston Globe gives Trump a Bronx cheer

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This morning the Boston Globe offers a glimpse into President Donald Trump’s America with a mocked-up front page illustrating the kind of stories we could expect if Trump were elected president. Stocks plunge, trade wars loom, and “riots continue” over mass deportations.

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Apr
06

There is power in high hopes

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A rubber tree plantation in Phuket, Thailand.
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Last night during his speech in Laramire, Wyoming, Sen. Bernie Sanders brought up how real change happens in this country. It was an inspiring nod to #fightfor15, and worth reading if you missed it:

If we were here in this beautiful auditorium 5 years ago, not a long time from a historical perspective, [and] somebody would have jumped up and said, you know, I think a $7.25 federal minimum wage is a starvation wage and it has got to be raised to $15 an hour.

Now [if] somebody stood up 5 years ago and said that the person next to them would have said,

‘You’re nuts! Fifteen bucks an hour?! You want to more than double the minimum wage? You’re crazy! Maybe, maybe we get up to 8, 9 bucks an hour. But 15 bucks an hour? You’re dreaming too big.’

Sound familiar?

‘You are unrealistic. It can’t be done. Think smaller.’

But then, what happened is fast food workers, people working at McDonald’s, people working at Burger King, people working at Wendy’s, they went out on strike …

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Apr
04

‘Moral Revolution’ tour kicks off in NYC

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When Rev. William J. Barber II spoke at Netroots-Detroit in 2014, no one left the hall. The man is riveting. All the more so because he is right—in the moral sense of the word. Barber, North Carolina’s NAACP state chair and Moral Mondays organizer, is taking his moral message on the road. And with a little more fire under him after the state legislature passed on March 23 the now-infamous HB2 law targeting not just the LGBT community, but citizens’ ability to sue employers over discrimination and cities’ ability to pass their own anti-discrimination ordinances. He began a 15-state tour yesterday in New York City:

The leader of the “Moral Mondays” movement and a prominent New York minister are joining forces for a 15-state “moral revolution” tour to counter the nation’s conservative voices.

Barber told a March 28 press conference:

“Far too much of our national political discourse and activity has been poisoned by the dominance of regressive, immoral and hateful policies directed toward communities of color, the poor, the sick, our children, immigrants, women, voting rights, environment and religious minorities,” said Barber, who founded the Moral Monday movement. “Our country is in need of a revolution of moral values to champion the sacred values of love, justice and mercy in the public square.”

An email announcing the Sunday kickoff spoke to the tour’s goals:

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Mar
30

NC’s HB2: Is it getting hot in here?

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House Bill 2 (HB2), North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law is drawing lots of fire from inside and outside the state. New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, and West Palm Beach have banned travel to North Carolina for their employees. Apple, Biogen, PayPal, IBM, and the NBA have condemned the law. Plus Dow Chemical, Google, Bayer, the NCAA, and others. The press center for the annual High Point furniture trade show announced Monday that “dozens of customers have contacted the High Point Market Authority to inform us that they have cancelled plans to attend the Market in April due to passage of HB2.”

Yesterday, former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl Jr. criticized HB2 as “inappropriate, unnecessary legislation that will hurt North Carolina.” The Charlotte-based Bank of America was a major player in the financial crisis in 2008, but still figures prominently among the state’s employers. McColl’s criticism will not help McCrory, Charlotte’s former mayor.

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Mar
12

Tinder Boxes

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Rachel Maddow chronicles Trump rally rhetoric in the wake of the Chicago Trump protest last night.

This account of a Trump rally from Facebook is illuminating:
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